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2 Seattle school board members resign following questions about where they live

caption: The John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, Seattle Public School headquarters, on February 27, 2021.
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The John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence, Seattle Public School headquarters, on February 27, 2021.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Two Seattle school board members are stepping down.

Vivian Song and Lisa Rivera announced their resignations, effective Friday, in a joint statement.

It comes a few weeks after The Seattle Times reported Song appeared to be violating state residency requirements since she’d moved out of her school board district sometime in 2022.

Song was first elected to the board in 2021 to represent Seattle schools District 4, which includes the Fremont, Queen Anne, and South Lake Union neighborhoods, as well as parts of downtown. Song was also recently a finalist for a vacancy on the Seattle City Council that was ultimately filled by Tanya Woo.

In Song and Rivera’s joint statement, posted on Facebook Tuesday afternoon, Rivera said she had also moved out of her district.

Rivera was elected in 2019 to represent District 2, which spans the Ballard, Magnolia, and Green Lake neighborhoods. She had just been reelected for another four-year term in November.

“We have both experienced significant changes to our family situations, which have prompted both of us to move outside the boundaries of our internal director districts,” they wrote.

“Separations happen. Divorce happens. Sometimes the rules simply don’t reflect the realities of modern family life, and should certainly never be exploited in the media while plans are made and laws interpreted to determine the right path for Seattle Public Schools and the public trust.”

Song and Rivera’s departures from the board comes at a pivotal moment for Seattle Public Schools, as the district grapples with declining enrollment and a $104 million budget shortfall, among other issues.

Rivera and Song said Tuesday they’re in compliance with board policy and law, but they didn’t want to “allow this unnecessary distraction to continue.” They said they’re resigning together to streamline the appointment process for the board and minimize disruption.

In the event of a resignation, the school board’s policy is to appoint a new member to serve through the next regularly scheduled election.

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